Part of Xbox LIVE’s Summer of Arcade last year, LIMBO was among the few games that turned PlayStation 3 owners Xbox-green with envy. One entire year later, and after a number of industry accolades, LIMBO crept its way onto the PlayStation Network.
LIMBO is the exact opposite of what’s popular these days. There’s no shooting, no online multiplayer, no fast-paced action, no real story, there isn’t even color; it’s all in black and white. But it’s the lack of all the distractions and commotion of modern games that allows you to get lost in LIMBO‘s world.
LIMBO can go from being almost serene and tranquil one moment, to piercing and chilling in a split-second. The pacing is just right. The gameplay consists mostly of platforming, solving puzzles, and avoiding traps. It can get very difficult at times so consider yourself warned – you’re going to die… a lot.
As good as the gameplay is, it’s the level design and atmosphere that makes LIMBO special. The monochromatic art-style, the eerie mix of wilderness and industrial backdrops, the grainy visual, the feelings of solitude, all contribute to a very nightmarish feeling. Sounds, ominous and at times startling, are designed to add to compliment the atmosphere and gameplay.
LIMBO lasts anywhere between 2-5 hours depending on survival and puzzle-solving skills. There is some replay value in collecting hidden “eggs”, some of which are extremely well hidden. There’s also a hidden level not found in the Xbox 360 version, which in my opinion is reason enough for someone who already had played that version, to try the PSN version as well. It’s that unique.
Spoiler warning: The level itself is tucked away deep into the game in an already hidden area. It’s complete darkness, at least 95% of the time. The lighted segments, although small and short, are vital if you hope to successfuly traverse this stygian tunnel. Each dimly lit area introduces you to an obstacle you’ve faced throughout the main game, and it’s up to you to take note of the sound it makes in correlation with your location to the obstacle. As you inch toward an obstacle, the sound will grow increasingly louder. You must use only your ears to complete the entire area. It is quite simply one of the most unusual and interesting, albeit difficult, videogame experiences you’ll ever come across. -End Spoiler
LIMBO is stunning. One of those titles that shouldn’t be missed, even if only to see and hear the world that Playdead has created. It’s no wonder why LIMBO received so many awards and is heralded as one of the best examples for video games as an art form. Although the game is very short for the price, this is one of those cases where quality should be considered over quantity. The extra hidden content may not be enough for those who’ve played the game already to make another purchase, but it more than makes up for the time that PS3 owners had to wait to play LIMBO.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
+Simplicity of gameplay gives focus to atmosphere.
+/-Game can be short and difficult. Difficulty extends the gameplay.